Mt Hood

Last week was Mt hood, page and as always, pathopsychology it was a great field and great racing.  It started off with the prologue.  It was short and sweet, but not as short as last years crazy sprint in down town Portland.  This year it was back to the old course in hood river up to panorama point.  This day was all about getting the legs ready for the rest of the week for me, so race prep was just cruising around and enjoying the scenery of orchards and mountains.

The next day, Cooper Spur Circuit race, was taken more seriously in my race prep.  This course has to be one of the most deceivingly difficult races ever created.  You look at it, and even after riding it, it doesn’t seem like too much.  It seems mostly flattish until you get to the climb up to cooper spur, which isn’t really that steep, then the descent down the other side, repeat.  Unfortunately, that mostly flattish is all false flat uphill, where you don’t really get to coast unless you want to loose about 29 places and soon be off the back, and its actually steeper than it looks, so get out of that big ring because it really isn’t doing any good.  Then you get to the turn off to head the final few kilometers to cooper spur, and that’s where the hill is noticeably steep.  Then you get about ten minutes of downhill to recover before you start the ascent again.  Since Hood was not an NRC this year, it wasn’t as hard as past years, and aside from not being far enough to the front for the last few k, I think I rode pretty well.  The last lap was all about position into the final climb, and all the teams were lining up, leaving me fighting for position.  I had a descent position, but not quite far enough up the field to get around all the gaps opening up on the final climb.  oops.

The TT was as epic as ever, this year it was WINDY as can be.  For those that don’t know this TT course, its pretty much the best time trial ever created by human intelligence.  It starts out in The Dalles, heads into the gorge along cliffs, then up a twisty climb, on a plateau for a while, then descends down the hill into mosier, and then goes onto a rails to trails bike path that includes some more climbing, and a tunnel.  Add to that a fast down hill finish to really make you feel fast, and you have the greatest time trial ever created.   Unfortunately, I wasn’t really feeling it on this day, and decided it would be best to ride some tempo and save a little in the tank for the next few days.  But being in the race, I kept on having a battle between “Save it for tomorrow” and “I’m here, so I might as well ride hard”.  All the while, I was enjoying the course way too much to really be time trialing anyways, so it was a nice kinda hard ride for me, and besides, I needed to give the guys behind me someone to catch.

The Wy’East Road Race was nice, it started out with a fast descent where we must have been going around 50mph.  Over a small climb and down the hour long descent into eastern Oregon.  I don’t think there are many courses that have as much down hill as this one.  There wasn’t much that happened during the race.  But there was a huge crash, a big pile up on a small down hill sweeping turn.  only about 20 riders made it past it, everyone else was either on the ground or at a stand still behind the crash.  I was pretty happy to squeeze past this one, and barely made it through a gap between a bike and a guard rail.  The whole pack took it easy, had a pee break and let everyone get back together.  The real racing wasn’t until the climb started anyways, so there was no need to make everyone chase after hitting the pave.  The final climb was epic, but seemed a little easier and shorter than past years.  Seems that training business is paying off.  I was pretty bummed when the guy in front of me crossed wheels and crashed.  It was right in front of me, I didn’t have any time to react and I rode over his bike, also crashing.  I’m pretty sure I rode over his chain rings, judging by the odd triangular cut in my tire.  Got a new wheel and hoped back on to race some more.  I was relieved to see Kennett being a super team mate, waiting for me just behind the caravan to help me get back in the race.  Couldn’t ask for a better team mate.  After a few minutes of Kennett and I riding together, we were back in peloton and back in the game.  There was an attack when we turned onto 35, I was feeling good and at the front so I hoped on it to see what my legs could do and vie for a top spot today.  I hung on to the effort most of the way up the hill, but I finally cracked from the leaders when we hit the turn off into mount hood meadows.  Cracked may be an understatement, since I went from top 6 to top 46.  I got passed by just about every one in the last 2k.  Maybe next year Ill be able to hold them off

The Down town crit is in no shortage of turns and hills.  The down hill corkscrew/shikane(how is that spelled anyways??)/180 is always fun.  I felt pretty good still, and was excited for the crit.  Unfortunately, midway through, some guy radically changed his line in the corner, which bumped the guy to his left out a little, I think he crossed wheels at that point(maybe not) but whatever happened he preceded to fall onto my front wheel…Ive done a lot of bumping practice, but I’m not really sure how to handle someone falling onto your front wheel.  Needless to say, I went down as well and was part of a big pile up.  I went to the pit to get back in the race, but discovered my shifter was broken.  I had the mechanics try to fix it, but it wasn’t going to be able to be repaired there.  That was pretty much the end of my race.  Aw well, better luck next year.